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Showing posts from February, 2013

Saying goodbye to Chioke the giraffe

Posted by: African Savanna zookeepers


Chioke means “gift from above” and our big male giraffe was exactly that. He came to Woodland Park Zoo from Oakland Zoo in the spring of 2007, and right away you could tell he was a special guy. His full name is Chioke Biton Amani McKinley, though he had the nickname Toaster (as in the Brave Little Toaster) because he had health issues to overcome from when he was very young. Sadly, Chioke continued to have intermittent health concerns, and he passed away last month.


It usually takes an animal a while to start to show trust in its keepers, but right from the get go Chioke, and his brother Kipande, showed great interest in what their keepers were up to, and that continued through his last days with us. Chioke’s willingness to interact with both the keepers and the public is what made him a fixture of our giraffe experience every year. Chioke met and connected with literally thousands of people every summer. He always made a connection with the peo…

Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Social lions

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications




Unlike the largely solitary snow leopard or jaguar, lions are the most social of the big cats, regularly living in groups known as prides.


Lions live in matriarchal societies, where lionesses make up the majority of the pride and take on various group responsibilities. In most prides, lionesses live among their cubs, sisters and female cousins. A few males live within the group, though most are unrelated.


Lionesses are slender, making them more agile and faster than the males, which is helpful since the females are the primary hunters within the pride. While females hunt, the males guard their territory and protect the cubs from larger predators. Once old enough, male offspring will be run out of the pride and forced to join a bachelor pride until they can dominate a pride of their own.


Have you visited the lion cubs yet? They are now on exhibit, weather dependent, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily in the lion viewing shelter in the award…

Contest: Name the cubs!

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications
Two of Woodland Park Zoo’s quadruplet lion cubs need names, and we need your help! Enter the naming contest for a chance to win an amazing zoo prize pack, including a private viewing at the lion exhibit with a zookeeper!

We’re in search of Zulu or Sotho names for one male cub and one female cub. The languages reflect a part of the range where South African lions live. A judging panel of zoo staff will select the cubs’ names from your submissions. The other two cubs will also receive Zulu or Sotho names, this time chosen by zookeepers and long-time zoo donors who have helped bring big cats to Woodland Park Zoo.

Need some inspiration? Here is a little bio on each of the two cubs to spark some ideas.


This male cub likes to rough around with his brother and often finds himself in mud. When not chasing his brother, sisters or mom, he can usually be spotted jumping on logs and wrestling sticks. He needs a name. What would you name him?


This female…

Earn your Master's degree at the zoo

Posted by: Jenny Mears, Education

Interested in pursuing your degree through the Advanced Inquiry Program? The application deadline is February 28!


Woodland Park Zoo has teamed up with Project Dragonfly from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to offer the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP), an exciting Master’s program for a broad range of environmental and education professionals, including classroom teachers, zoo and aquarium professionals, and informal educators. The AIP offers a ground-breaking graduate degree focused on inquiry-driven learning as a powerful agent for social change, public engagement, and ecological stewardship. Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) is one of seven institutions across the country that offers the AIP Master’s.

The first AIP cohort at WPZ started in 2011 and students have already reported positive changes in their personal and professional lives. We asked Julia Ward, a Whittier Elementary fifth grade teacher and member of that cohort, to illustrate the impact that this …

Making it easy—and fun—to be green

Posted by: Dr. Deborah B. Jensen, WPZ President and CEO

Kermit the Frog said it well:  “It's not that easy being green.” Still, the actions we take every day impact the wildlife and habitats that surround us. As a society, how we deal with resource depletion, environmental pollution and climate change will decide the fate of the many animals and landscapes we love.

Northwesterners care deeply about this region’s natural heritage.  As a conservation leader, so does Woodland Park Zoo. And so do our city’s leaders. Mayor Mike McGinn has asked the entire community to comment on a new Climate Action Plan for Seattle, which proposes ways our city can become carbon neutral by 2050. The ambitious plan follows the first period of agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the global Kyoto Protocol, which concluded in 2012. I encourage you to explore the city’s plan and join the dialogue.

Such a big goal requires building community support for climate action generation after …

ZooCrew students explore zoo careers

Posted by: Rob Goehrke, Education

When you were 13, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did a career in science, technology, engineering or math (also known as STEM) appeal to you? How about a career that helped animals?

With ZooCrew, we work with middle school students through after-school programs to introduce them to the varied STEM and conservation careers that are possible. They work with zoo advisors who represent different jobs across the zoo—from animal care to science writing—to get first-hand experience in how fun and rewarding these jobs can be. By working with professionals, our students can create meaningful, high-quality projects.

Here are a few careers they explored and the projects they created last semester:

Events

ZooCrew students learned that events are crucial in raising funds and awareness for our conservation mission. Those who chose this career had the option of working with zoo Events Manager Toni Radonich to generate ideas to expand WildLights, our brand ne…

It’s official: lion cubs to debut

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


The quadruplet lion cubs are ready for the big time. The cubs officially debut on exhibit this Sat., Feb. 16!


Starting Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily, the 3-month-old cubs and mom are scheduled to be on view in the lion shelter located in the award-winning African Savanna. Viewing hours may vary or may be canceled for the day due to weather and veterinary examinations, and will increase incrementally as the cubs continue growing.


The cubs spent their first weeks in a behind-the-scenes maternity den with mom Adia, then took their first steps outdoors earlier this month. For the past two weeks the cubs have been exploring the outdoors through a series of introduction sessions.


They adjusted to the outdoors right away, exploring all around, playing with sticks and trotting through mud. Their play is predator-like, loaded with mock stalking, pouncing, mouthing and biting.


A temporary chain-link fence has been installed in the lion exh…

Searching for amphibians in local wetlands

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


We’re on the lookout for the wetlands version of a needle in a haystack: small beads, clumped together in tiny masses, hanging to the sides of sticks and logs, submerged under dark, muddy water. But the dozen wader-wearing volunteers in Carkeek Park on a Saturday morning are up for the task.  These are citizen scientists and they have studied and practiced for this—the search for amphibian egg masses in our own parks and backyards.
Amphibians once occupied pristine wetlands across the Pacific Northwest. But now their marshy homes often flow into or crash up against urban and developing areas. Amphibians are closer than we often realize, and our actions impact them deeply. With their permeable skin, amphibians and their health are a direct reflection of the health of their habitat. Urban pollution and pesticide run-off contaminate amphibians and their wetland homes, while our ever-expanding communities shrink their habitat.   To protect amphib…

Celebrating the power of love at the zoo

Guest post by Dave and Jacqui Kramer



Editor’s note: Dave and Jacqui Kramer are Seattle writers who celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal in front of some tuxedoed guests at Woodland Park Zoo —Humboldt penguins! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing the love birds’ story, written in their own words.

Twenty years ago, our wedding was a small affair conducted at the side of a small lake. We paid a little extra for the Justice of the Peace to come out of his office, where he joined a few of our friends, family members, and a pair of swans who appeared unprompted to attend our short ceremony. We were both underpaid, small-town newspaper reporters, so there was no reception and our honeymoon was one night away and then back to work on Monday.

For our 20th anniversary, Dave proposed renewing our vows and having a large reception for family and friends. While exploring the vast array of unconventional party rentals options that reflected who we are as a couple, Jacq…